No. 1 Vikings wrap up KCAC crown
OTTAWA, Kan. -- The Missouri Valley College men's lacrosse team entered the spring campaign ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, and ended the regular season in the same spot -- not once having dropped from that spot.
The Vikings closed the regular season Saturday with a 25-5 Kansas Collegiate Athletic Conference victory at Ottawa (Kan.), their 11th win in a row after falling at NCAA Division II Rockhurst in the opener. They were unbeaten in league play.
Valley began the match with five straight goals, the first three assisted by sophomore Ryan Barnes, before the Braves scored twice. Junior Carson Brezinski found the mark twice as the Vikings increased their lead to 8-2.
Ottawa picked up a pair of goals during the second quarter, but was overwhelmed the rest of the way. Freshman Tyler Wilkinson scored five times and Barnes had three goals during a 22-minute stretch midway through the game, Valley reeled off 12 goals in a row to push the margin to 21-4 with over 12 minutes remaining.
The Vikings had the final four scores, sophomore Jack Smith assisting three of them.
Sophomore Pearson Willis led Ottawa (6-5, 3-1 KCAC) with three goals.
Valley out-shot the Braves, 75-19, with freshman goalkeeper Austin DeGross coming up with six saves for the visitors.
The Vikings (11-1, 5-0) are second in the nation in goals per game (17.92) and first in assists (130). Wilkinson (3.36) and Smith (3.00) are 1-2 in the NAIA in assists per game. Barnes leads the team in goals (38).
Valley will open play in the KCAC Tournament at Leavenworth, Kan., with a match Thursday against Benedictine.
Meanwhile, the Lady Vikings' season ended Saturday with an 11-7 loss at Ottawa. The match was tied at 5-5 at halftime, Valley getting three goals from senior Myleka Booze, but the Lady Braves (8-2, 4-1) opened the second half with four straight goals and took that margin into the final six minutes.
Freshman Jordan Anderson also had three goals for the Lady Vikings (4-8, 2-4). For the season, Valley was led in scoring by freshman Payge Farewell with 26 goals and freshman Jacie Willison with four assists.
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